The US has warned Americans traveling abroad that they face an increased risk of violence after the US announced the killing of Ayman al Zawahiri, the chief of Al-Qaeda.
His killing in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend dealt the biggest blow to Al Qaeda since the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, prompting US President Joe Biden to declare that “justice had been delivered.”
Following the strike, the US State Department on Tuesday urged US citizens to “maintain a high level of vigilance and practice good situational awareness when traveling abroad.”
“Current information suggests that terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions across the globe,” the department said in a statement.
“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings,” it was said.
A senior official in the Biden administration said the 71-year-old Zawahiri was on the balcony of a three-story house in the Afghan capital when targeted with two Hellfire missiles after dawn on Sunday.
It was the first known over-the-horizon strike by the United States on a target in Afghanistan since Washington withdrew its forces from the country on August 31st of last year just days after the Taliban swept back to power.
The Taliban condemned the drone strike on Tuesday, but made no mention of casualties, nor did they name Zawahiri.
Zawahiri took control of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden
The Egyptian-born Zawahiri, 71, took control of Al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden, the terrorist organization’s founder, was himself killed by American forces in Pakistan in 2011.
President Joe Biden, in remarks Monday night at the White House, described Zawahiri as an instrumental player in the planning of the 9/11 attacks on the US and the “mastermind” behind multiple assaults against Americans, including the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole in 2000.
Biden said the strike showed the US was committed to preventing Afghanistan from once again becoming a haven for terrorist groups a year after the pullout of American forces from the country.